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Monday, February 24, 2020

Introducing Two’s a Crowd - Travel Solo But Never Alone



Multiple award-winning tour company, Two’s a Crowd, specialise in Solo Travel having created a huge range of small group itineraries dedicated to solo travellers visiting different destinations throughout the world.

According to founder and owner, Ken Morgan, “Two’s a Crowd celebrates solo travellers. We make it easy and safe for them to travel the world at a fair price and share amazing experiences with like-minded people.”

“We have been successfully operating since 2012 and so many of our solo travellers return to travel with us time and time again. Some have even booked their tenth tour.” Continues Mr Morgan.

Tours are customised for groups of 10-20 solo travellers, ensuring they always feel safe in a small group environment, while still receiving personalised attention, space and free time to explore along with the chance to enjoy authentic cultural experiences.

All Two’s a Crowd group tours offer:

• Great value with low single supplements
• Your own room always – no sharing!
• Fully escorted by a Two’s a Crowd tour host
• English speaking, hand-picked local tour guides

Two’s a Crowd operate over 30 group departures a year with tours ranging from seven to twenty-three days.

Tours visit over 35 different destinations including Chile, Argentina and Brazil, Sri Lanka, Peru and Bolivia, Egypt and Jordan, Laos, Morocco, Tanzania Zanzibar, South Africa, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Russia and Eastern Europe, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, France Canal Barge, Portugal, Scandinavia, Spain, Southern India, Prague to Budapest, Budapest to Amsterdam, Northern India, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, Germany and Vietnam and Cambodia.

Two’s a Crowd also operate river and ocean cruise charters, launching the world's first solos-only river cruise in 2017 from Budapest to Strasbourg. Like with their regular group tours, everyone had their own cabin and there were no couples on board.

Two’s a Crowd will operate their fourth river cruise charter from Budapest to Amsterdam in August this year. Other ocean and river cruise charters have included Fiji, Vienna to Black Sea and back to Budapest and French rivers.

For further information and for bookings visit: www.twosacrowd.com.au, telephone from Australia:
1300 55 45 01, telephone from New Zealand: 0800 895 145.



Traveloscopy | 

What's New in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef



Revitalise on the Reef

Sunrise yoga on Sudbury Cay, drift snorkelling over giant clams at Lizard Island, and learning about traditional Aboriginal healing at Cooktown, are all included in the seven-night ‘Revitalise on the Reef’ wellness voyages with Coral Expeditions. Departing Cairns in September 2021, the Outer Great Barrier Reef expeditions are curated by wellness expert Kris Abbey, who will join guests on-board for one-on-one consultations.

www.coralexpeditions.com/au/destinations/great-barrier-reef/revitalise-on-the-reef/

Social butterfly invites guests

Affectionately referred to as the Crystalbrook Collection’s social butterfly, the five-star hotel Flynn is taking bookings ahead of its March 31 opening. Situated opposite the Cairns Esplanade boardwalk, Flynn features two glass pools overlooking the Coral Sea, 311 stylish rooms and suites, three levels of restaurants and bars, the Eléme Day Spa, a 24-hour gym, and meeting spaces for up to 120 people. The hotel’s ground-level restaurant, Boardwalk Social, is already proving a hit, cementing its place as the stomping ground for locals and tourists alike.

https://www.crystalbrookcollection.com/flynn

Centre for Indigenous art

First Nations art will feature prominently at Bulmba-ja, the new name for the Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts, following its $5.9 million refurbishment. Meaning ‘house’ to the Yirrganydji and Yidinji peoples, Bulmba-ja incorporates a Yarning Circle and Elder’s lounge along with a unique integrated LED facade to display digital artworks. Home to JUTE Theatre Company and NorthSite Contemporary Arts (formerly KickArts), Bulmba-ja now includes Miriki Performing Arts and The Pryce Centre for Culture and Arts.

http://arts.qld.gov.au/centre-of-contemporary-arts-cairns/

Feast on exotic fruit

An expanded rare and tropical fruits display and a food trail taking in the Cassowary Coast’s best food producers are part of the Feast of the Senses festival on March 26-19. Celebrity chef Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking will show her skills at the Australian Bananas River Feast in Innisfail on March 29, the market day featuring food vendors, local producers, art, artisan products, music and entertainment.

https://www.feastofthesenses.com.au/

Chill out in Port Douglas

Relax on a penthouse terrace with views of the Daintree rainforest at the newly refurbished Saltwater Luxury Apartments. The inviting outdoor couches and sun lounges are perfect for chilling out at the end of the day with a drink, or curling up with a book. Located in the heart of Port Douglas, and just a short stroll to the beach and the marina, the fully self-contained apartments have one, two and three-bedroom options.

https://saltwaterportdouglas.com.au/

Paddock to plate dining

Good cooking and great eating start with excellent farming and that’s just what you can expect at CC’s Bar and Grill at Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort in Cairns. Chef Matthew Larter, whose passion for beef has taken him around the world, serves Crystalbrook Signature Beef reared just 180km west of Cairns. He is part of a culinary trio including British-born chef Tyrone Hunt, who has a background in fresh seafood, and Mark Sinclair, who boasts an impressive professional pedigree in fine-wines and first-class hospitality.

https://crystalbrookcollection.com/bailey/food-and-drink/ccs-bar-and-grill

Ned Kelly Series on show

Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly Series will be on display at Cairns Art Gallery from March 6 to June 14 as part of a national tour of the Australian masterpieces. Cairns is the only Queensland venue hosting the 1940s paintings from the National Gallery of Australia Collection.

https://www.cairnsartgallery.com.au/

Day & night citizen science

The first Great Barrier Reef day and night citizen science program, aligned with the Australian school curriculum, has been launched by Sunlover Reef Cruises. The Marine Biologist for a Day + Astronomer for a Night program involves a daytime guided snorkel safari, and night-time camping in deluxe swags on the Moore Reef Marine Base to study the stars.

https://www.sunlover.com.au/pages/marine-biologist-for-a-day-astronomer-for-a-night

Discover public art in Cairns

Cairns Regional Council has launched a Cairns Arts & Culture Map showing where to see public art on display, including paintings in the Cairns Courthouse, light projections in the city, and Indigenous prints etched into the glass of the Cairns Performing Arts Centre.

https://www.cairnsartsandculturemap.com.au/

Silkari rebrands Oaks Lagoons

Oaks Lagoons Port Douglas has been rebranded to Silkari Lagoons Port Douglas. The 176-room property, boasting one, two and three-bedroom apartments, including spa, swim-out and plunge pool rooms, is on Port Douglas Rd, a short stroll to Four Mile Beach.

https://www.visionary.com.au/blog/article/silkari-hotels-to-add-a-second-property-to-their-portfolio

First nursery for outer reef

The Great Barrier Reef’s first outer reef coral nursery has been established on a high-value reef by the Reef Restoration Foundation volunteers who successfully pioneered an offshore coral nursery at Fitzroy Island. The not-for-profit organisation partnered with Seastar Cruises to develop the nursery, near their Hastings Reef mooring.

https://reefrestorationfoundation.org/pages/media-releases

Indigenous stockmen recognised

The Indigenous Stock Workers display has opened at the Normanton Visitor Information Centre, recognising the Indigenous men and women who opened their land to agriculture and provided loyal service as stock workers. Funded through the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program, the display highlights the cattle industry in Normanton.

http://www.carpentaria.qld.gov.au

Aquarium by Night launches

Watch the underwater and coastal worlds come to life after dark at Aquarium by Night, a guided Cairns Aquarium experience giving a glimpse into the behaviour of the region’s nocturnal creatures. Corals glow, predators hunt and reptiles emerge from their burrows. Complete your evening at the Aquarium’s Dundee’s Restaurant for a dining experience with a sea life backdrop.

https://www.cairnsaquarium.com.au

A cultural perspective on climate change

Climate change is the theme for the 11th Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) on July 8-12, which will show a First Peoples’ point of view on how the local environment has changed. A showcase of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, CIAF features ethically sourced art, markets, music, dance, fashion, food, crafts, theatre and workshops.

https://ciaf.com.au/news/climate-change-inspire-artistic-response-showcased-2020-art-fair



Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Accor appoints new Director of Communications


Accor, Australia’s largest hotel operator with a network of over 380 hotels and apartments, has appointed Claire Haigh as its new Director of Communications for the Pacific region.

For the past five years, Haigh was Global Communications Director for Pernod Ricard’s Winemaking division and their portfolio of champagnes, spirits and wines in Australia and New Zealand.

Between 2008 and 2013 Haigh was Head of Communications for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants in the UK, and prior to that drove creative communications, strategic brand partnerships and external affairs for AB InBev, Coca-Cola and Oakley.

In her new role, Haigh will lead communications for Accor Pacific’s award-winning apartment, hotel and resorts portfolio which includes Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, Mantra, Peppers, Art Series, Swissotel and ibis, and premium membership platform Accor Vacation Club, across Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia and Fiji.

Haigh will also direct communications for Accor’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, and the group’s newly launched global lifestyle loyalty programme, Accor Live Limitless www.all.accor.com, where members enjoy access to the brand's whole suite of hotels, spas, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, as well as “money can't buy” entertainment, wellness and sport experiences.

Haigh commented, “There has never been a better time to join Accor and it is a fantastic feeling to come into a thriving and dynamic business.

“Accor are leading the future of tourism and hospitality, they have a phenomenal portfolio, and they are playing an active role in giving back to the planet and community via its Planet 21 programme, the Accor Community Fund, and Inclusion and Diversity initiatives.

“I look forward to collaborating with the teams across the business to deliver outstanding work, and I will be focused on growing brand value and visibility to support growth."

"Claire’s passion and expertise for how communications can drive business results and fit within an integrated proposition made her the ideal appointment," said Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer for Accor Pacific.

Accor is a major sponsor of the Australian Open and the official accommodation partner of the NRL.


Traveloscopy | 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Captain Cook's ‘Hot August Night’ Music Cruise back for 2020






Captain Cook Cruises spectacular, "Hot August Night" Music Cruise, on-board paddlewheeler PS Murray Princess is back for its third year in 2020 for one departure only, on Friday August 21, 2020.

Over three nights guests will be taken on an intimate journey into the music of Neil Diamond through entertainer and storyteller, Dave Freeman. Experience the Neil Diamond voice, Neil Diamond story and amazing Neil Diamond show.

Enjoy a welcome three-course dinner and dance to the live tunes of keyboard artist, Paul Gill. On Saturday night get ready for a show to remember when Dave performs his "OMG Neil Diamond Sounds Like Me" show including storytelling, songs, dancing and music from Neil Diamond's famous Hot August Night Album.

On the final evening, dance the night away as Dave and Paul provide live entertainment, singing all-time favourite songs during the Captain's Seafood Buffet Dinner and Dance.

By day, the Murray Princess will travel along the Murray River between Walker Flat and Murray Bridge visiting historic towns and attractions along the way.

In Mannum join the Captain for a walk along the riverbank to the Mannum Dock Museum (entry is an additional cost of $5 per person) or simply take a walk around town.

At Murray Bridge explore the township and take a tour of the historic Round House or wildlife lovers can spend a morning visiting Monarto Zoo. See many of the Zoo's inhabitants including Giraffe, Eland, Zebra, White Rhinoceros, Cheetah, Lions, Hyena and Wild Dogs on a private Monarto Zoo Wildlife Tour (additional costs apply).

At Salt Bush Flat learn about the thriving ecology of the river and its flora and fauna on a guided nature walk, while at River View Lodge get up close to the river, its 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing birdlife including darters, herons and egrets on the 'Dragon-Fly' Flat Bottomed Boat vessel.

Onboard the Murray Princess join the Captain for a general inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in a lively music quiz with Paul Gill, or play some bocce on the riverbank with Dave Freeman.

Enjoy the ever-changing Murray River scenery from the open-top deck. Relax in comfort in the paddlewheel lounges and watch the paddlewheel turn while admiring the rivers natural beauty including the magnificent towering limestone cliffs and riverbanks lined with mallee scrub, willows and red gum forests.

Be treated to a fine selection of food and wine in the ship's elegant dining room and bar. Start each morning with a hearty hot buffet breakfast and indulge in a two-course or buffet lunch each day. As night falls watch the sun set and enjoy a delicious cocktail before savouring a three-course meal or buffet dinner.

The three-night "Hot August Night" Music Cruise departs Mannum at 4.30pm on Friday August 21, 2020, and Early Booking Saver fares start from $931 per person twin share.

Fares include accommodation, all meals, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, onboard WiFi, the Captain's Dinner and Cocktail Party, the "OMG Neil Diamond Sounds Like Me" Show, entertainment by Dave Freeman and Paul Gill, use of ship's facilities including a sun deck, bar, two lounges, dining room and a mini gymnasium.

Complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide, or secure car-parking in and Mannum post cruise coach transfers to Adelaide are also included.

Private car transfers for up to four people are also available from and to Adelaide CBD to Mannum and return to Adelaide Airport for $150 per person each way, based on two people travelling.

For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au




Sunday, February 9, 2020

Share the Love to Show the Love #LoveNSW

NSW's Tourism Recovery Campaign With Heart



The recovery of NSW's tourism industry from the effects of drought and bushfires is in everyone's hands with Destination NSW today launching its new marketing campaign, Now's The Time To Love NSW.

A rally cry to stay 'local', buy 'local' and post photos and videos of our favourite places with the hashtag #LoveNSW, the social media-led marketing campaign will utilise user-generated content to encourage Australians to get away and give back.

Getting involved is simple; visit our charming country towns and vibrant cities, enjoy our many natural wonders, and post imagery of the experience on social media framed by hands in the shape of a love heart.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said that the new campaign was focused on reminding travellers about all the amazing experiences on offer in Australia's number one holiday destination.

“The prolonged drought and unprecedented bushfires have broken our hearts and had a devastating impact on thousands of operators in our beautiful state,” Minister Ayres said.

“That's why now's the time to love NSW – we need to show the world that our many spectacular sights and experiences are in great shape, and they're welcoming visitors right now,” Ayres said.

Joining the #LoveNSW movement is easy:

  1. Take a #RecoveryWeekend in NSW
  2. Capture a photo in an iconic and inspiring NSW location, framed by your hands in a heart shape
  3. Share the photo on social media with the hashtag #LoveNSW

For more info check out www.visitnsw.com/love-nsw


Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The new 20s: Intrepid predicts travel trends for the decade ahead




Climate change and friendships key themes

At the launch of the new Lonely Planet and Intrepid trips, the small group adventure company revealed their predictions for how travel will evolve in the new 20s - in what they describe as the decade for the planet and bringing people together.

Australians urged to holiday at home to boost bushfire recovery



AUSTRALIANS are being encouraged to throw their support behind Australia’s tourism industry in the wake of the devastating bushfires by holidaying in their own backyard.

Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign launched today taps into the overwhelming goodwill and support for local communities impacted by the recent bushfires, by urging Australians to plan, book and take a domestic holiday and share their experiences with friends and online.

Supported through a $20 million government funding boost, the campaign forms part of a coordinated marketing push involving all states and territories that provides a unified platform to galvanise the tourism industry and Australians.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said that the Holiday Here This Year campaign would help spread the important message that Australian tourism was open for business and ready and eager to welcome visitors.

“There is no doubt that Australian tourism has been hit hard by the recent bushfires. It’s critical that we help the industry get back on its feet as soon as possible,” Ms Harrison said.

“The desire from ordinary Australians to assist the communities impacted both directly and indirectly by the bushfires has been overwhelming. This campaign seeks to show them how they can directly support the recovery by simply holidaying here in Australia.

“We are currently in the middle of the peak summer period and we’re already seeing an impact on tourism as people delay or cancel their travel plans, including to areas that haven’t been directly affected.

“That is why we are asking people to commit to holidaying in their own backyard this year - whether it’s a drive up the coast, taking a trip interstate, or ticking off a bucket list destination - and to spread the word that Australia is ready to welcome more travellers.

“Holiday Here This Year is a practical way that Australians can help bushfire affected communities by filling hotel rooms, restaurants, caravan parks, beaches and more.

“The launch of the campaign is the first of a package of measures that we’ll be rolling out over the coming weeks and months to help Australian tourism rebuild and recover.”

The Holiday Here This Year campaign will be rolled out across print, social media, billboards across major cities, content partnerships, radio and outdoor advertising, with Australians being encouraged to demonstrate their support using the hashtag #holidayherethisyear.

Tourism Australia will be making it easier than ever for consumers and industry partners to find the resources and inspiration needed to plan and book a holiday in Australia and help out affected communities in the process thanks to additional information and resources at www.australia.com/holidayhere.

This will also include practical tools for industry to use in their own marketing initiatives.

A summary of some of Australia’s most popular destinations for international travellers, and whether they have been impacted by the current bushfires or are safe to visit, can be found at https://www.australia.com/en/travel-alerts.html.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

SWISS to serve new Daxing International Airport with its Beijing flights



SWISS will be switching its services between Zurich and Beijing to the Chinese capital's new Beijing Daxing International Airport in March. The move will also provide more attractive departure and arrival times for travellers on the route.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is to switch its Zurich-Beijing services from the present Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). The change will be made with the start of the 2020 summer schedules at the end of March.

The move will offer travellers more attractive timetables on the route. The eastbound service will leave Zurich late in the afternoon and arrive in Beijing just after 09:00 on the following day. The westbound flight will depart from Beijing at 11:00 and arrive in Zurich at 15:35 on the same day.

SWISS serves Beijing daily in summer and five times weekly in winter. The route is operated using Airbus A330 equipment.

The new Beijing Daxing International Airport, which was designed by top architect Zaha Hadid, opened last autumn and is in the south of the city. The new facility meets all the requirements of an airport today, and is ideally linked into the public transport network. The airport is set to become one of the world's busiest by 2025.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ferrari Museums set new records



The Ferrari Museums set a new record in 2019, attracting more than 600,000 visitors, a 12% increase on the previous year. Both venues experienced strong growth with visitor numbers to the MEF in Modena jumping in 2019 to over 200,000, whilst the Ferrari Museum in Maranello saw attendances rise to in excess of 400,000 in the same period.

The success of the single ticket for access to both museums – sales of which increased by more than 50% in 2019 compared to the previous year – demonstrates the excellent public response to the increasingly specialist nature of these two structures. Indeed, the museum in Modena celebrates the figure of the founder, along with the most elegant, exclusive Ferrari Gran Turismo engines and cars, while the museum in Maranello provides visitors with an experience that allows them to discover the history of the Group, of Scuderia Ferrari in Formula 1 and of the most iconic track and road cars that have written the history of the Prancing Horse, and continue to do so today.

In line with its different specialist visitor routes, the Maranello Museum’s first exhibition of the new year will be “Ferrari at 24 Heures du Mans”, which, from January 15, celebrates 70 years of Ferrari victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new show also flanks the current exhibitions: “90 Anni”, an homage to the Scuderia Ferrari’s history, and “Hypercars”, which features the limited edition special series that have been most influenced by Ferrari’s signature track-to-road technology transfers.

Opening Times
Every day except December 25 and January 1
November/March 9.30 – 18.00
April/October 9.30 – 19.00

Lonely Planet partners with Intrepid Travel to launch Lonely Planet Experiences



With over 300 sustainable group tours across the globe, the new trip range will bring Lonely Planet guidebooks to life for the first time.

World-leading travel publisher and digital travel media company, Lonely Planet, has joined forces with Intrepid Travel, a leader in sustainable adventure travel, to launch Lonely Planet Experiences. The new range of carbon-neutral tours will bring Lonely Planet’s authority and travel prowess to life by offering an innovative new product that is authentic, immersive and sustainable.

Lonely Planet Experiences will comprise 200 jam-packed day-tours (operated by Intrepid Travel’s day-tour company, Urban Adventures) and more than 130 multi-day trips including walking, cycling, food, festivals, family and marine adventures.

All Lonely Planet Experiences have been designed with a low environmental footprint while ensuring a positive impact on local communities. True to Intrepid Travel’s style all tour groups will be small, with a maximum of 16 travellers, and led by a local leader. The tours will use local transportation, support locally owned businesses and like all Intrepid Travel trips since 2010, be 100% carbon-neutral - also reflective of Lonely Planet’s commitment to responsible travel as part of this partnership. In addition, all tours will include exclusive discounts on Lonely Planet’s guidebooks, free access to Lonely Planet’s flagship Guides app, and supplementary Lonely Planet insight throughout.

“For over four decades, travellers have looked to Lonely Planet for trusted travel advice,” says Luis Cabrera, CEO of Lonely Planet. “Now, global explorers looking for the inside track can journey along with us on this new range of tours. This is an exciting innovation and evolution for the Lonely Planet brand.”

James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel added, “These experiences combine our expertise to create a new tour range that will support local communities, protect our natural environment and ensure travellers see the world in a responsible and sustainable way. Lonely Planet helped pioneer access to more authentic and grassroots experiences for independent travellers. That’s why we’re thrilled to be part of the next phase of their growth and helping to make sustainable experience-rich travel a mainstay for travellers everywhere.”

(c) Intrepid Travel


The tours will offer travellers a once-in-a-lifetime experience of what it’s like to truly know a place, through explorations of local food and drink, behind-the-scenes access to hidden gems, interactions with locals and insights from trusted travel experts. Travellers will gain a deeper understanding of, and connection to destinations by getting to the very heart of the place they are visiting. Delight in the sights, smells and tastes of some of the world’s most exciting and original experiences, from an evening stroll through Sydney’s small bar scene, an insider's trip through the most famous fish market in Tokyo, or an exploration of Rome’s iconic monuments and movie locations.

Cabrera adds: “Intrepid Travel is widely considered the industry leader in responsible travel and we’re delighted to be partnering with them on Lonely Planet Experiences. The two brands share an unmatched passion for travel and a genuine commitment to responsible travel and we’re proud to combine our expertise to deliver amazing adventures for like-minded travellers around the world”

The tours will run in 6 continents, across 65 countries, and range in duration from 2 hours to 22 days.

Feature tours include:

Day tours

Lonely Planet Experiences – Powered by Urban Adventures

- A Tour Through Tokyo’s Kitchen (incl. Tsukiji Fish Market), 2.5 hours, starting at $109 AUD
- Vintage Las Vegas Arts Tour, 2 hours, starting at $65 AUD

Multi-day tours

Lonely Planet Experiences – Powered by Intrepid Travel

- Galapagos Experience (7 days), starting at $1320 AUD
- Explore Egypt (15 days), starting at $1645 AUD


The launch of Lonely Planet Experiences is the latest in a series of new ventures by Lonely Planet as the company seeks to maximise adjacent business opportunities under the new strategic direction of recently appointed CEO, Luis Cabrera.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Citadines on Bourke Melbourne becomes dog-friendly

Canines and their companions will be able to experience a New York moment in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, as Citadines on Bourke Melbourne transforms into a dog-friendly retreat, complete with a rooftop courtyard for pups to stretch their legs from up above.

Having recently welcomed four-legged guests to a selection of apartments at Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne, The Ascott Limited are spreading the doggy joy to their sister property.

Ideally positioned in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD and comprised of spacious apartments with separate living and dining areas, Citadines on Bourke Melbourne offers guests and their beloved pups the perfect base to stretch out, relax and explore the city’s many sights and sounds at an affordable price.

To ensure the experience is nothing less than doggy-tastic, four-legged guests will be catered for with a bed fit for the furry traveller, water and food bowls, and a welcome pack including treats, toys and a special gift.

Pups on their first city-break will get a true taste for the highlife, experiencing their very own New York moment at the aparthotel’s rooftop courtyard. A vantage point to be enjoyed by all guests, there’ll be plenty of room for doggies to run around and owners to take in the city from up above.

Back on ground level, dogs will also have plenty of opportunity for exercise with neighbouring parks Carlton and Fitzroy Gardens both within close walking distance.

The guest services team will be well-versed in many of the dog-friendly activities on offer around the city, including Tom and Captain who guide dogs on adventurous walks around Melbourne, and Gourmet Pawprints who offer pup-friendly experiences such as Paws and Pours High Tea and Doggy Winery Tours.

Hounds will be happier than ever to be treated to a city break, never to be left at home again!

For further information about Citadines on Bourke Melbourne, please visit www.citadines.com



Monday, January 13, 2020

Market returns this weekend to support fire-affected stallholders with Bushfire Appeal



Canberra’s Capital Region Farmers Market has revealed many of its stallholders have been severely affected by the Australian bushfires across several regions, and vows to do whatever it takes to help and support the Farmers Market community.

“We are deeply saddened that a number of our stallholders have been affected across several regions including the NSW South Coast, Snowy Mountains, South West Slopes and Southern Highlands, with many experiencing partial or total destruction of property, equipment, crops and stocks,” said Capital Region Farmers Market Manager, Sarah Power.

“Up until now, the most significant impact on our many farmers and producers, has been drought. Now you add these devastating fires to the mix…it is just heartbreaking. These families have been affected very badly, and we will see a knock-on affect for years to come in terms of long-term production,” Sarah continued.

Sarah revealed that the Market will reopen tomorrow and that its return for 2020 is the best way that locals can support the stallholders through buying and donating.

“You can support our stallholders by buying what produce there is available. These people’s livelihoods depend on this income – we know many Canberrans have been feeling hopeless, so one way to show support is to continue to shop local,” Sarah continued.

Tony Howard, spokesperson for the Rotary Club of Hall which owns and manages the Capital Region Farmers Market, today announced the launch of the Farmers Market Community Bushfire Appeal, revealing that Rotary has donated $50,000 to kick off the appeal.

“Our appeal will assist our Farmers Market families with critical short-term support and assistance. Rotary will assist fire affected stallholders and their families with financial contributions, clean up assistance, provision of new or used equipment, mental and social support and administrative support for businesses,” Tony said.

Visitors to the Capital Region Farmers Market can head to the Rotary Bushfire Marquee onsite at the front of the Market’s shed where they can contribute donations. They can find out more about fire-affected stallholders and other ways in which they can assist. The Farmers Market Community Bushfire Appeal will run for the remainder of January.

“Rotary is a not-for-profit run by volunteers. Our members can act very quickly to reach and assist these people. Visitors can be assured that 100% of funds donated will directly support fire-affected stallholders who require immediate and ongoing assistance across these regions,” Tony concluded.

Capital Region Farmers Markets reopens for the year tomorrow, Saturday 11th January, from 7.30am – 11.30am. Visitors are to be aware that there will be a reduced number of stallholders due to the fires, drought and access into Canberra. The Market will minimise the impact of the current smoke in the ACT this weekend by locating all stallholders inside the shed where possible. Visitors should take the necessary precautions and follow the advice of ACT Health with regards to any potential smoke hazards.

For more information on the Market, the appeal, how you can assist and where your money goes, visit https://capitalregionfarmersmarket.com.au/farmers-markets-community-bushfire-appeal/



Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

#Bushfires: A message from Tourism WA


Hi everyone,

I am so sorry to be writing this note as my first formal piece of correspondence to you all for 2020, but obviously current circumstances dictate we need to discuss the terrible bushfire disaster affecting much of Australia.

Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the bushfires occurring right across our country.  The coverage of the fires has been comprehensive, as have the devastating effects to communities as these bushfires continue to impact Australia. This is an awful time for Australia, and specifically for our tourism industry colleagues throughout the country.

Currently, much of Western Australia’s main tourism destinations are unaffected, with tourism businesses around Perth and the regions operating as normal. However, some regional areas have been impacted and travellers are encouraged to seek the most up to date information prior to departure and remain informed about changing conditions on arrival.

Following discussions with Tourism Australia, Tourism WA has decided to temporarily pause some elements of its international marketing program where it makes sense, and where it is respectful, to do so in order to ensure our program is sensitive to the on the ground impacts of the fires. 

We have not paused any interstate marketing activities at this time, although we do not have a great deal of trade partnership activity underway in the east coast market right now.  We are in the process of preparing a number of initiatives which will be launched at the appropriate time to drive visitation to WA for winter 2020.

We have today spoken directly with our RTO partners and have encouraged them to continue with all intrastate activities to support our WA tourism industry during this difficult time.

Tourism WA will continue to monitor the situation and review our approach over time. In the coming weeks, we will be working with Tourism Australia and the nation’s other state tourism organisations to contribute to an approach to minimise any impact on tourism from the fires and protect and build on Australia’s reputation as an international tourism destination in particular.

The following information is provided for you to assist travellers with up to date information:

Where to find information

Western Australia’s local Visitor Information Centres can provide advice about local conditions and how travellers can best to enjoy their time in Western Australia.
Please see below websites to assist travellers with up to date information:

For travel in Western Australia

Department of Fire & Emergency services - government department that is responsible for fire and emergency services in Western Australia - www.dfes.wa.gov.au and www.emergency.wa.gov.au

If travelling by road, please visit www.mainroads.wa.gov.au and click through to road closure information.

For travel in the rest of Australia

The  Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology - provides overall weather updates for all parts of Australia, including the latest fire warnings.

Stay up to date with the bush fire situation by tuning in to local ABC Radio, which is the national emergency broadcaster.

Bushfire appeals

Many West Australian’s and visitors are looking for ways to support the communities affected by the ongoing bushfire emergency, donations can be made via  the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund

I am sure you will all join me in sending our best wishes to everyone impacted by the bushfires around the country, including our tourism operators, and extending our gratitude to the emergency services staff and volunteers working tirelessly right across Australia to fight these fires.


Brodie Carr
Managing Director
Tourism WA

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Small Luxury Hotels #SLH new openings for 2020


As we welcome a new decade, Small Luxury Hotels of the World unveils its most anticipated luxury hotel openings for 2020. From a boutique hotel in Miami which allegedly inspired the Conga dance to a blissful resort nestled within The Himalayas, here is a sneak peek of the most exciting destinations and boutique hotels to look forward to in 2020.

Opening February 2020

The Celino South Beach, Miami, USA
Rooms start from AUD714 per night including breakfast


February 2020 will see Miami hosting the 54th Super Bowl and welcoming a new luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the city's Ocean Drive. The Celino South Beach has transformed three art deco buildings, including the landmark Park Central Hotel, into one luxurious boutique hotel with eclectic custom furniture, pop colours, and a rooftop pool featuring a peekaboo glass bottom that is visible from the Atrium below. Park Central Hotel, a favourite of silver screen stars like Bogart and Hayworth, was allegedly the birthplace of the conga line so guests should keep an eye out for conga-line kits with how-to guides, drums and cigars in their rooms.

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya, Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
Rooms start from AUD196 per night including breakfast

KASA Hotel Riviera Maya sits in the exclusive beach, marine and golf community of Puerto Aventuras. This private gated community is an emerging area on the Riviera Maya, away from the crowds in an area of lush tropical foliage, with a smart sailing community, full-service marina, golf course and uncrowded beach. The concierge at KASA Hotel Riviera Maya is skilled at arranging local adventures in the Riviera Maya including cenote diving, biking explorations of the area's Mayan ruins, Mexican cooking classes and diving alongside sea turtles in Akumal.

Opening April 2020

Torre Del Marques, Matarraña, Spain
Rooms start from AUD608 per night including breakfast

With its sun-baked hill towns, olive groves and terraced vineyards, Matarraña is reminiscent of Tuscany's countryside but unlike its Italian counterpart, this remote corner of Aragon is blissfully away from the tourist crowds and remains one of Spain's undiscovered regions. Torre Del Marques is a 15th-century farmhouse turned exclusive boutique hideaway with solar panels and sustainable architecture maximising its energy efficiency. The light-filled restaurant strives to embrace an organic 'zero-kilometre' approach to dining, serving only food that is produced in the immediate local area including olive oil, black truffle and honey.

Opening May 2020

Panoptis Escape, Mykonos, Greece
Rooms start from AUD1,171 per night including breakfast

On top of the hill overlooking the idyllic Elia Beach in Mykonos, Panoptis Escape is the latest addition to the Myconian Collection family. Bound by imaginative contemporary architecture, minimalist styling and artisan craftsmanship, everything about Panoptis Escape is the definition of 'less is more'. 19 villa suites comprise the new property, each featuring  their own outdoor spa Jacuzzi or private infinity pool. Unparalleled comfort and lavish amenities are provided with the help of an experienced team of staff, here to take care of guests' every whim from personal chefs and butler services to private helicopter and yacht charters. What's more, Jet2 will be launching summer season flights to Mykonos from Stanstead and Manchester airports on 24th May 2020, making it even easier to access the island.

Opening June 2020

Can Ferrereta, Mallorca, Spain

Located in the quaint rural town of Santanyí in the south east of Mallorca, Can Ferrereta will be one of Europe's most exciting new hotel openings in summer 2020. The team behind Sant Francesc Hotel Singular has meticulously restored an historic 17th century building, comprising 32 individually designed rooms and suites, surrounded by verdant gardens. Over the years, Santanyí has attracted many international artists and today art plays a central role. Guests will stumble upon various galleries and workshops in the narrow alleys of this quiet country town. The hotel will also display one of the region's most exciting collections of contemporary art including works from the likes of Guillem Nadal, Dominica Sanchez, Miquel Planas, Manolo Ballesteros, Riera i Aragó, Jordi Alcaraz and Jaume Plensa.

Les Sources de Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
Rooms start from AUD320 per night

Located among the beautiful vineyards of Cheverny, renowned for producing white wine such as 'Sauvignon' and 'Cabernet Blanc', Les Sources de Cheverny will open its doors with 26 rooms and 23 suites. The hotel's spa will offer the same range of vineyard based treatments and skincare products as its Bordeaux sister property, Les Sources de Caudalie, also owned by Alice and Jerome Tourbier. The quintessential French château will host two restaurants, an organic vegetable garden as well as seven hectares of vineyards planted around the property. The wine experience will not be limited to the property's ideal location as a real wine route will be devised to allow guests to discover the hidden wonders of the region. Close to the hotel, guests will find The Château of Cheverny which was used as a model by Hergé for Marlinspike Hall (Château de Moulinsart in French), which is featured in several Tintin stories. The château has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the most famous of cartoon reporters.

Opening July 2020

Castello Di Reschio, Umbria, Italy
Rooms start from AUD1,284 per night

Castello di Reschio is a new boutique hotel located within a 3,700-acre pastoral estate in the Umbrian hills on Italy's Umbria-Tuscany border. Propelling a spotlight on Italy's forgotten heartland, the hotel houses 36 rooms and suites, a restaurant, spa, bar, library, pool and an organic farm including 5,000 olive trees. Riding lessons and excursions are available for guests and a weekly dressage event in the summer months brings equestrians together. Other activities include hiking, tennis and wild swimming in the estate lake which is available for private use, cooking lessons, olive oil making, clay pigeon shooting, truffle hunting and painting classes.

Opening August 2020

Living Berna by Stara, Mexico City, Mexico

Living Berna by Stara is located in Mexico City's up-and-coming Colonia Juárez neighbourhood, home to chefs, artists and designers that have brought new energy into this district,. The boutique hotel will feature fully automated luxury suites equipped with state-of-the-art technology as well as a library, theatre, gym, sky bar and a rooftop garden restaurant. Close to the hotel, Café La Habana, one of Colonia Juárez's most iconic coffee shops having first opened in 1952, is alleged to be the place where Che Guevara and Fidel Castro masterminded the Cuban Revolution.

Opening December 2020

Lost Horizons Resort & Spa Begnas, Pokhara, Nepal

Based on James Hilton's classic novel Lost Horizon, Lost Horizon Resort & Spa Begnas in The Himalayas boasts a unique perspective of Begnas lake and some of the highest mountain peaks of the world. The 38-suite hotel also features a 7000 sq foot spa offering spa treatments inspired by old traditions, a pool designed to be used in all seasons, a grand bar and library lounge that overlooks Mount Manasalu. Five years after the catastrophic earthquakes where nearly 9,000 people lost their lives, the country is gearing up to celebrate 2020 as the 'Visit Nepal' year, with the tourism board setting a target of two million visitor arrivals.


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Samui Restaurant Reopens with Fiery New Menu



Beachfront dining includes everything from barbecues and brick ovens to wok fires and flambés.

If you smell something sizzling down in southeastern Koh Samui these days, chances are it’s coming from Banyan Tree Samui’s beachfront restaurant, Sands, where Chef Rainer Roersch is rolling out his smoking hot “8-Fires” cuisine.

“We were looking for a very visual and atmospheric theme,” said Chef Rainer. “Something eye-catching that our chefs could prepare under the coconut trees and the moonlight. The key element would be fire.”

The new-look Sands restaurant — which recently reopened after a three-month renovation that includes a new retractable roof — has been adapted to include eight workstations featuring different traditional forms of cooking with fire - brick oven, charcoal grill, wok fire, stove-top, table-burner, hot stone, Santa Maria grill, and flambé.

“There is something mesmerizing about food sizzling over an open fire,” said Chef Rainer. “From the native American concept of the sacred fire pit (bara-bicu) to Japanese hibachi, meaning ‘fire bowl’, to Indonesian satay and Middle Eastern shish kebabs, it has a global appeal and has existed since time immemorial.”

Sands’ new menu has been beefed up to include a selection of meats and seafood adaptable to the 8-Fire techniques. Diners have a choice of Australian Wagyu beef and Black Angus steaks, lamb cutlets, BBQ pork ribs, chicken breast or veal cutlets. Fresh local seafood choices include lobster, jumbo prawns, scallops and squid, as well as imported Norwegian salmon and Australian barramundi.

“We can really showcase the true aromas and flavors of seafood and prime cuts by using smoke, flaming liqueurs and truffle spray,” said Chef Rainer. “And of course, the tableside presentation is spectacular. It’s fun for all the family with the sizzling fires in all directions, but it can also be a romantic evening for two with sea breezes, soft sand and fine wine.”

From the chef’s garden come the ingredients for vegetarian options including risottos, pizzas and casseroles, fresh salads, and pasta dishes such as pumpkin gnocchi. And among the many mouthwatering starters on the new menu are tuna tartar, pan-fried foie gras, beef carpaccio, Louisiana crab cakes (in green mango salad) and the overwhelming “Seafood Symphony for 2”.

Sands Restaurant overlooks the sapphire sea of the Gulf of Thailand from a secluded cove flanked by coral reefs. It is one of three signature dining venues at the award-winning Banyan Tree Samui resort, which is recognized as one of the leading hotels in Asia. The 38-acre property is nestled on a steep hillside and hosts 88 luxury villas, each with its own private infinity pool.

Sands seats 60 diners indoors and up to 42 on the open terrace. The restaurant is open to Banyan Tree guests and non-guests alike from 11:30am to 11pm, seven days a week. Reservations are recommended.

Villas at Banyan Tree Samui, each with infinity pool, start from US$550 per night.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bushfires: A message from ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley

The following message was sent to ATEC members this afternoon.



The last few weeks have been devastating for our community and we know many of our member tourism businesses will now be struggling to work out a way forward.

ATEC is sincerely saddened by the loss experienced by so many communities and while our tourism industry is full of strong, determined and resilient people, we will be working to support their recovery over the coming months.

To this extent, we will be working alongside our industry and government partners to develop and implement a recovery strategy as soon as possible. Importantly, at the right time we want to make sure we send a strong message to international visitors that Australia remains open for business.

Meanwhile, we invite feedback from members in bushfire areas as to the status of your business (impacted or operating as normal) which we can compile and distribute to all Inbound Tour Operators and share with Tourism Australia – click here to complete this brief survey.

Please feel free to contact us at atec@atec.net.au if you need advice or want to provide any feedback or ask questions.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Shelley
Managing Director

CLIA names Award finalists



Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced the finalists for the 19th annual Cruise Industry Awards, to be presented at a sold-out celebration next month.

A total of 71 finalists from across Australia and New Zealand have been chosen and will be in the running to win one of cruising’s highest honours when the industry comes together for its biggest night of the year on February 15.

More than 560 entries were received for this year’s awards – more than ever before – with 11 different categories open for self- or peer-nomination and awards for both Australian and New Zealand nominees.

Key categories this year include Agency of the Year, Cruise Consultant of the Year, Home-Based Cruise Agent/Broker of the Year, Rising Star, Cruise Champion, Promotion of the Year and a Media Award.

CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the awards celebrated the top achievers among CLIA’s travel agent membership.

“This year’s nominations show a genuine passion for the cruise industry and that’s a big part of the success we’re experiencing in Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Katz said. “The most energetic and engaged agents are also some of the most successful in Australia and New Zealand, so these awards are about recognising their commitment and the prosperity they help bring to the entire cruise community.”

Hosted by entertainer Tim Campbell, the 19th annual Cruise Industry Awards will be held at the Star Event Centre Sydney on Saturday February 15.

See full list of finalists.

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